The Irrawaddy

Chin State Bans Hunting, Picking Rhododendron Flowers

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YANGON — The Chin State government has issued a public warning against picking Rhododendron flowers and hunting wildlife across the state.

Rhododendrons, which sprout the state flower, grow mainly in the townships of Mindat, Matupi, Falam and Tedim. Chin State Chief Minister Salai Lian Luai said his government has banned the cutting of Rhododendron tree branches and the picking of its flowers as well as hunting wildlife, a traditional source of livelihood for hill tribes in the state and beyond for centuries.

“The state counselor [Daw Aung San Suu Kyi] has instructed us to conserve Rhododendron flowers. Now hornbills are on the verge of extinction. We will take action in line with existing laws if there are violations,” he said.

Rhododendrons bloom in December and January, and Chin residents are not happy that visitors pick the flowers and cut its branches. Recent photos of some visitors cutting off Rhododendron branches drew criticism after spreading on social media.

“The Chin State government has sought comment from the state Advocate General’s Office on imposing the official ban,” said Mang Hen Dal, state minister of agriculture, livestock, forestry and mines.

He said violators would be punished under the Forestry Law and the Wildlife and Conservation of Natural Areas Law.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.